MANCHESTER, N.H.—What a difference a day makes. After enduring months of media and polls that predicted a new Trump-ian paradigm, voters—finally given the chance to weigh in—seem to have rejected the hype. That’s not to say it’s all over. Iowa is just one state. But it is to say that today the world feels a little more normal today. Those of us who always thought we understood Republican politics find ourselves more comfortable with the notion that organization/”ground game” still matters, and that the GOP is still a conservative (not nationalistic) party.
You know how pundits always say that “It all comes down to turnout”? That’s because it does. The problem with polling Trump was that it was impossible to predict whether his “supporters”—many of whom had never caucused before—would actually show up. Not enough, it seems, did. Conversely, as I wrote yesterday, Cruz’s campaign was all about the fundamentals of blocking and tackling—and blocking and tackling doesn’t slump. It’s not glamorous. It just shows up every day and gets the job done. That’s why he won.
Again, Trump isn’t over. Although I suspect his Iowa loss will impact his New Hampshire numbers, Trump is still a formidable candidate in the Granite State. Surprisingly, Trump seems to have lost graciously. He didn’t seem angry during his concession speech. He’s still formidable.
But the big stories today are [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] and [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore]. Both set dramatically different expectations for Iowa—and both exceeded those expectations. And now, all eyes turn to New Hampshire.